Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lost “The Substitute” Recap and Review

Photos rrom ABC

Things are becoming a little clearer in this episode of Lost “The Substitute.” Or are things getting more complex at the same time? It seems that the island may need a new caretaker or protector, and those key people on crashed Oceanic flight 815 are the prime candidates. Well, this is the story if you believe the “new” John Locke. The episode was filled with symbolism. One example is where Locke asks Sawyer to climb down the steep cliff. Is he asking Sawyer for a leap of faith? Or, was that ladder built by Jacob, to imply the biblical “Jacob’s Ladder” which is supposed to go up to heaven or spiritual fulfillment, and is Locke taking Sawyer in the wrong direction? The other notable symbolic scene is when Locke and Sawyer reach the bottom of the cliff and enter the cave to find one white and one black rock on a scale, Locke throwing off the white rock which tips the scale to the black rock. Is the white rock Jacob and by Locke throwing it off (as he killed Jacob), does he think the scales are now tipped in his favor?

Of course, the biggest reveal are the names and numbers – the names of Oceanic flight 815 written on the walls of a cave on the island. Again, if you believe this John Locke, these people were all somehow unknowingly directed by Jacob to come to the island, somehow making them all end up on the flight which crashed on the island. But the real issue here is who are we to believe? Clearly Richard Alpert has serious doubts about Locke’s motives, and believes Locke is there to kill them all. Locke, on the other hand, seems to think that the island is nothing special and that he just wants to get off of it. Is he motivated to find a “substitute” protector just so he can get off the island? Or, as Richard said, does he just want everyone dead, maybe wanting the island for himself? I find myself wondering if Jacob cwas able to get off the island to affect the lives of certain people in order to get them on to the island, why couldn’t Locke get off to do the same? Are the lives we are seeing living in the time after the successful flight of Oceanic 815 the lives that they would have lived had Jacob not “touched” their lives? And how do we really know that Jacob put those names on the walls of the cave, could it also have been the man in black who seems to have “claimed” Locke’s body?

Another nagging question is why Sawyer could see the same young boy that Locke saw, but that Richard was unable to see. Could that boy be a younger version of Sawyer, or does the fact that Sawyer saw him mean Sawyer really is special somehow?

While this whole series revolves around the island, Locke seems think that this is just some sort of joke, and it’s just a “damn island.” It made me a little concerned that after watching t his series all along, that it may turn out to be a story about a nothing island. But, as Locke said "but you are so would be a shame to turn back now."

Episode Recap:
This episode again covers two timelines, one in Los Angeles, after the successful flight of Oceanic 815, and on the island in some sort of “present” time. In his timeline in L.A., John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) is in a wheelchair, having problems getting out of his wheelchair-enabled van, having the lift jam. He falls out of the chair when he tries to roll it off the jammed ramp. His fiancée Helen (Katey Sagal) helps him up after he falls to the lawn, the sprinkler system also kicking on. Later, in the bathtub, he discusses the wedding with Helen. who also encourages him to pursue the free consultation offered by Dr. Jack Shepard. He later gets fired from his job by his boss Randy (Billy Ray Gallion) because Locke was sent to Australia on business and then didn’t attend any of the business functions, instead using the time for a personal matter, of which Locke refused to explain to Randy.

In the island timeline, we see the island from the perspective of the smoke monster, which drifts through the island. Suddenly Locke is in those same places. In one, he is taking Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) down from his trap and finds that Richard wasn’t given any information from Jacob on what was really going on. Locke and tries get Richard to join up with him but Richard refuses. During their discussion, Locke sees a blond boy, his arms bloodied, standing in the distance, but Richard sees nothing.

Meanwhile, Ben (Michael Emerson) and Ilana (Zuleikha Robinson) are inside the base of the large status, Ilana questioning Ben about the death of her men and finds that Jacob also has been killed and his body burned in a fire reduced to ash.. She takes some of the ash and puts it into the bag. She tells Ben that Locke is a “recruiting.”

Later, Locke comes upon Sawyer (Josh Holloway), who is in his Dharma cabin, drowning himself in alcohol in order to cover his grief over Juliet’s death. After Locke tells Sawyer that he (Locke) is dead, Sawyer drinks to Locke, saying “Here’s to being dead.” Sawyer seems indifferent that Locke is there, saying he knows that he is not John Locke as Locke was scared even when he was pretending not to be scared and the man in front of him is not scared. Locke asks Sawyer what if he knew he could answer the most important question of the world? When Sawyer laughs and asks what question is that, Locke says the question is why is Sawyer on this island? When Sawyer cites the plane crash and other calamites that got him on the island, Locke tells him that is not why he is here, and if Sawyer comes with him he can prove it. Sawyer decides to go along.

Back in the other timeline, Locke is carrying his things out to his van and his ramp access is blocked by another huge vehicle. He tries to open the ramp but it jams again as the other car is blocking it. It seems it is Hurley’s (Jorge Garcia) car, who reminds Locke that Locke could have parked in a nearby handicap spot which would have given Locke plenty of room to use his lift. Locke also finds that Hurley own the company from which Locke was just fired, and Hurley introduces himself as Hugo Reyes. Locke tells Hurley that Randy had just fired him, and Hurley refers to Randy as a “huge douche.” Hurley tells Locke he also owns a temp agency and gives Locke the phone number, telling him to call it and use his name to get another job, adding that things will work out.

Back on the island, the group at the statue leave for the temple at Ilana’s urging, but Sun (Yunjin Kim) wants to first bury Locke's body. Ben asked Ilana why she brought Locke's body to the statue in the first place, and she tells him that the people there needed to see the face of what they're up against. When Ben questioned her as to what would to stop the Man in Black from changing his face again and Ilana said, "He can't, not anymore. He's stuck this way," referring to Locke's face. When they carry the body to the burial area, while standing over the grave to say a few words, Ben admits that he murdered Locke.

While Locke and Sawyer walk in the jungle, Locke sees the young boy again, but much to Locke’s surprise, Sawyer sees the boy too. Locke chases the boy and then trips. The boy comes up to Locke and tells him that Locke knows the rules, “You can't kill him." As they boy moves off, Locke screams back "Don't tell me what I can't do." Meanwhile, Sawyer held back and Richard comes out from hiding and tries to get Sawyer to come with him to the temple. He tells Sawyer that Locke isn’t going to tell him anything and Locke wanted to kill everyone. Locke approaches and Richard takes off. Sawyer asks Locke if he ever caught up with the kid, and Locke asks "What kid?"

Back in his timeline in L.A., Locke is at Hurley’s temp agency and when he gets frustrated at the dumb questions the interviewer is asking, he asks to see the supervisor. The supervisor is Rose (L. Scott Caldwell), who tries to bring Locke back to reality with his job expectations by explaining her own terminal illness with cancer. She wants to help him find a job he can actually do.

On the island , Sawyer decides to point his gun at Locke, asking Locke "What are you?" Locke tells Sawyer that he is trapped, and has been for so long he doesn’t remember what it is like to be free, He tells Sawyer to just go ahead and shoot him, but adds, "but you are so close, James, it would be a shame to turn back now."

Back in L.A., Locke makes a call to Jack’s office, but has second thoughts and hangs up. He admits to Helen he was fired. The doorbells rings, and it’s Oceanic returning his lost luggage, which Locke asks Helen to open, displaying his knives. He tells her about his “walkabout” that he had planned there, but they would not let him go. He is sick of imaging what his life would be out of his wheelchair, adding "because it's not going to happen" and he didn't want Helen to spend her life waiting for a miracle, "because there is no such thing." She disagrees, saying that there are miracles, but the only thing she was waiting for was him, and she tears up the business card from Jack.

On the island, Locke has taken Sawyer to a cliff that he expects Sawyer to climb down with him. A reluctant Sawyer finally begins the climb down, but has multiple ladder problems, with Locke saving Sawyer from falling. When they get to the bottom of the cliff, there is a cave with a scale inside, a black rock on one side of the scale, a white on the other, the scales in balance. Locke picks up the white rock and hurls it into the ocean, and when Sawyer asks that that was about, Locke says it’s an “inside joke.” When Sawyer asks if rocks on a scale is why they are here, Locke lights a torch, leads him into the cave, and lighting the rock, telling him THAT is why they are there, the torch illuminating an area where names are written on the rock – some are familiar names from the Oceanic flight – and there is a number assigned to each name. Many other names on the wall have been crossed out.

Briefly, back in L.A., we find that Locke seems to be happy working as a substitute teacher in a school. He goes to the teachers’ lounge, where Ben is there, introducing himself as “Ben Linus, European History."

Back in the cave, Sawyer is looking more closely at the names, seeing "23 Shephard", "8 Reyes" (when Sawyer asked what the 8 meant, Locke said, "I don't know, Jacob had a thing for numbers.”), "4 Locke", "15 Ford" , “16 Jarrah“ and “42 Kwon” (Locke is not sure if it means Sun or Jin). Locke tells Sawyer that he must have met Jacob sometime in his life, and that Jacob has been “pushing” Sawyer to the others, as a possible candidate to take over the job of protecting the island. Locke tells Sawyer that Sawyer has three choices: do nothing and see how it plays out and maybe his name will be crossed out (as Locke crosses off his own name); accept the job and become the new Jacob, and protect the island. Locke admits it’s protecting it from nothing, as “that was the joke, there's nothing to protect it from, it's just a damn island, and it will be perfectly fine without Jacob or you or any of the other people whose lives he wasted”. The third choice, was they just go, Locke saying “We just get the hell of this island. We never look back," adding they can do it together. When he asks Sawyer if he is ready to go home, Sawyer’s quick answer is "Hell yes," as the episode ends,

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